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Senate Defeats Bill That Would Have Delayed Count My Vote Compromise

Brian Grimmett
File: Utah Senate

The Utah Senate defeated a bill on Tuesday that would have delayed the implementation of the Count My Vote Compromise.

Last year the organization Count My Vote tried to eliminate the caucus/convention system through a ballot initiative. To deal with that threat, lawmakers struck a compromise and passed Senate Bill 54. It allows candidates to bypass the caucus and convention and get their name directly on a primary ballot by gathering enough signatures. It also requires political parties that want to keep the caucus/convention to adhere to certain rules. Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, says he believes the legislature’s compromise did what the party was unwilling to do and saved the caucus/convention system.

“And to come back one year later and to say, ‘oh, we got you. We fooled you. You threw away those signatures and now we’re going to pull the carpet out from under your rugs,’ I think it lacks integrity,” he says.

But the Utah Republican Party is saying they don’t have enough time to make changes to their bylaws to conform to the new law in time for the 2016 election. They’ve even sued the state challenging the law.

To help the party out further, Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, ran SB43, which would have delayed the implementation of the election law changes until 2017. Jenkins also says he doesn’t believe it’s the duty of the legislature to tell parties what they should and shouldn’t do.

“Many of you here view yourselves as the Republican Party, when you’re not," Jenkins says. "You’re not the Republican Party. The Republican Party is the delegates. It’s the people that get together and decide what it is and where we’re going to go. And so for you to stand up and say you did what the Republican Party couldn’t do, I think is wrong.”

Now that SB43 is defeated, the state GOP will have to comply with the law by November of 2015 or they won’t be able to elect their candidates at their convention. Instead candidates would have to gather signatures to get their names on the primary ballot. 

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